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Chiefs mix it up for Sunwolves showdown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/04/2017

The Chiefs have rung in the changes for their first ever Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves in Hamilton on Saturday. © Phil Walter/Getty Images The Chiefs have rung in the changes for their first ever Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves in Hamilton on Saturday. The Chiefs have rung in the changes for their first ever Super Rugby clash with the Sunwolves in Hamilton on Saturday.

Head coach Dave Rennie has switched up his tight five with Kane Hames, Hika Elliot and Nepo Laulala to start the match in the front row, while Test star Brodie Retallick has been replaced by Taleni Seu at lock.

Mitchell Karpik wins his second start of the season at openside with co-captain Sam Cane rotating to No.8, while Tom Saunders gets his chance at blindside.

Counties halfback Jonathan Taumateine will also make his first appearance in the Chiefs No.9 jumper, inside Aaron Cruden.

In the midfield, veteran Stephen Donald is back at second-five, where he will partner Test midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown.

Sam McNicol returns to the left wing after a brief stint in the midfield, while Northland fullback Solomon Alaimalo gets his second start of the season on the opposite flank and Damian McKenzie lines up at fullback.

Surprisingly, Japanese captain Michael Leitch has been rested for the match against his compatriots and future teammates, who have won just the single 2017 Super Rugby match.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, are equal second with the Hurricanes in the New Zealand conference, three points behind the unbeaten Crusaders.

CHIEFS: Damian McKenzie, Solomon Alaimalo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Stephen Donald, Sam McNicol, Aaron Cruden (co-capt), Jonathan Taumateine, Sam Cane (co-capt), Mitchell Karpik, Tom Sanders, Taleni Seu, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Hika Elliot, Kane Hames. RESERVES: Brayden Mitchell, Aidan Ross, Sosefo Kautai, Mitchell Brown, Liam Messam, Alex Nankivell, Shaun Stevenson, James Lowe.

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